Vanity Fair- Blessing of the Animals with Cindy Adams
Vanity Fair - Blessing of the Animals with New York Posts- Cindy Adams
THERE WENT IN TWO AND TWO
Cindy Adams Took a Break from Gossip to Help Animals Be Blessed on Sunday
A mongoose, a pig, a llama, a goat, and an alpaca received blessings from a rabbi and reverend at the annual event, which Adams has hosted for nine years.
DECEMBER 4, 2017 12:46 PM
By Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket/Getty Images.
On Sunday, passersby down Park Avenue at 60th Street could clearly hear barking coming from Christ Church, where hours after regular church services had ended, enough animals to fill a small zoo lined up to be blessed by local clergy. For the ninth year, New York Postcolumnist Cindy Adams hosted the annual Blessing of the Animals, where dogs, cats, a llama, a goat, an alpaca, and a mongoose alike came to be blessed by Rabbi Peter Rubinstein, Rabbi Emeritus of Central Synagogue, and Reverend Dr. Stephen Bauman of Christ Church.
Adams, who brought her own Yorkshire terrier to the event, has been hosting it long enough to see a variety of New York pets come through the church, including the K-9 and Mounted Units of the New York Police Department, which also attended this year.
“One year, an idiot brought fish in a bowl,” Adams said. “So, people have odd little pets that mean an awful lot to them.”
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One of the pets to show up this year was Wilma the pig, who arrived with her handler, Dan Halbert, from Aly’s Ponies in Highland, New York. It was her first year at the annual blessing, where, outfitted in a green leash, she walked the full aisle of the church with the rest of the animal crew.
Wilma is a seasoned social pig; she’s attended her fair share of weddings, baptisms, and functions with rowdy college kids. Even still, Halbert said that with iPhones flashing in Wilma’s face, Sunday’s excitement proved a tad overwhelming.
“She was good; she was a little nervous at first,” Halbert said. “. . . but before the church filled up, we walked her down the aisle a couple of times and that relaxed her.”
Anne-Marie Karash, associate director of Humane Society of New York, arrived with four rescue pups available for adoption—including Ivy, a rescue from Hurricane Harvey—and noticed Wilma from the start.
“I thought I heard a dog in distress, and it turned out to be a pig,” said Karash, who observed that Wilma went “straight for the rabbi.” “I was like, ‘You’re in good hands. That’s where you go,’” she said, laughing.
Wilma wasn’t the only non-canine arrival at Christ Church. Rikki, the African dwarf mongoose, named after Rudyard Kipling’s famed mongoose character Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, also walked down the church aisle with owner Jed Ryan, who held a restless Rikki in his arms as he spoke to V.F. Ryan adopted Rikki from another owner about eight years ago.
“I put him on a leash and a harness, but he doesn’t walk on the ground; he’ll stay on my shoulder and loves observing. Loves people. Most of the time, he’s happy to be in my apartment in Forest Hills and will watch TV with me. I can’t take him to bed with me because he does have claws,” Ryan said, as he held a squawking Rikki up to display his feet.
Squawks and barks reverberated through the sanctuary as the rabbi and reverend read a prayer for the room, and blessed each individual animal that came to greet them. A family of female Yorkies named Mia, Tia, Pia, Gia, and Via wore red holiday tutus as they sat near V.F. to watch the festivities with their owner, Charlie Manuel.
“I’m the luckiest guy in town,” he said, as his squirming fur family looked on from the pews.
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